My Boaz: Part I

As I have shared with my readers before, I am divorced. Was divorced but not anymore.  Wait, what?

“Well, what had happened was…”  In September, 2013 I was legally still married to my ex husband and the divorce was pending. It actually had been dragging along.  I was using one of those paralegal services that prepares documents for you but I still had to take them to the courthouse and have them filed myself.  I initiated the divorce after a long separation and much prayer and Christian counsel from my pastors and ladies in the Women’s ministry at my church.  I had filed reluctantly once before but I couldn’t pull the trigger when it came to filing the final documents.  I needed to ask God more questions and seek Him again.  I wasn’t sure if this was what He wanted me to do.  Well, God did answer my questions in a way that I never expected.

The Turning Point

One night in July, 2012 I was at home with my kids when I saw headlights in my driveway.  There were two guys on my porch saying they had my husband in their truck and he was very drunk.

“Excuse me?” is what I said.  My ex hadn’t lived with me since 2010 and I had never seen these guys before.  How did they know to bring him here?

“This was the address on his driver license so we brought him here”, one guy said.

I stood there at the door still baffled.  I looked at the big black Chevy Suburban sitting in my driveway with the engine running.  The windows were tinted black and I couldn’t see inside.  I made on of the guys bring me my ex’s wallet before I would consider stepping off the porch.  I didn’t know that he was really in the truck with them.  And considering the fact that he cheated with a married woman whose husband and son wanted to go upside his head, I wanted to take every precaution.  Somewhat satisfied by the wallet, I closed the door behind me and walked out to the truck.  There he was in the back seat- lit.

This man weighed over 200 lbs and he was beyond drunk. He had never had a drinking problem at all so I was at a loss as to how and why he got that way. I knew he had been at a boxing match with some of his coworkers and new friends.  He had asked me to go with but I said no.  One of the reasons I said no is because I didn’t like the person he had become since meeting these people.  I really didn’t like him very much at this point in my life.  I started to tell them to take him to his mom’s house when I noticed my kids looking at us from the window.  I started to feel guilty about them seeing me turn him away.  In all my cowardice I told them to bring him inside.  He threw up twice before they made it to the front door.  They let him collapse on the couch.  I told the kids to go to their rooms.  One of them asked me what was wrong with their papa.  I didn’t answer because I didn’t know what to say.  After they went to bed I took my infant daughter and went to my room.  I was livid.

The next morning he burst into my room saying, “How did I get here?  What happened?”.  He looked terrified but he woke me up from a dead sleep at 6 am so I had no sympathy for him.  I told him to get out of my room and we would have that discussion when I woke up.  Later he asked me for a ride downtown so he could find his truck.  He was delivered to me without his phone so he couldn’t even call anybody to find out where it was.  I told him to take the bus and go look for it.  He did that.

While he was gone I had to tell my two oldest children the truth.  They just sat there shaking their heads. My son surprised me by saying, “You should have told them to take him to Grandma’s house”.  I felt relieved because that was what I really wanted to do in the first place.  I’m always worried about my kids thinking I’m selfish or mean.  I don’t know why.  I let that man in my house because of it.  I didn’t want to disappoint my kids or lose even more respect for their papa.  Then God spoke to my heart and said, “You are not responsible for how they see their father.  He is.”

That was my turning point.  I knew that God was telling me that it was okay to end the marriage.  There were so many other things that happened and my children were along for the ride.  I knew I had to protect them and to let God protect us all.

Joy

I made it my mission to stop being a broken family and just be a family.  I took the kids on outings and field trips.  We had a weenie roast after a nice drive along the coast looking at the city lights and crossing the St. Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.  We started having Taco Tuesdays and somehow they convinced me to join Instagram.  I developed a new bond with each of my children.  Slowly but surely the laughter and lightheartedness returned to their little faces, and to mine.

I was alone on weekends and the kids were with their papa at his mom’s house.  Being the introvert that I am, I was perfectly comfortable in solitude.  I would read books, catch up on sleep, and go to museums- alone.  I am a HUGE boxing fan but I don’t have any girlfriends who share this trait so I started attending fight parties at sports bars- alone.  Hell yes!  I would put on my jeans and my leather jacket and go!  Of course, a woman sitting alone in a bar attracts attention.  I did enjoy the attention for the most part but I had no desire to meet a man.  I was a newly single mother of five kids and I was scared to death at the thought of getting to the point on a date where I told a guy how many kids I had.

Me: I have five kids

Guy: …

Guy: …

Guy: Um, I can’t.  Please lose my number.

Ok, that never happened but that was the scenario I chose to torture myself with.  Even though many guy friends had told me that that would not scare a good man away, I felt like I would have to wade through so many predatory liars who saw me as a desperate single mother who could be easily conquered.  I didn’t have time for that.

Happily Single While Married

As I was saying at the start of this post, by September 2013 I was borderline single (whatever that means) and not looking to mingle.  I did long for companionship at times, like when my favorite band came to town and I didn’t have anyone to go with.  I joined millions of single women in hating those Robbins Brothers engagement ring commercials.  I dated a couple of men but I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t let anything get close to being serious.  I felt tremendously guilty because I was still legally married.  My divorce was dragging on and I didn’t have the money to hire an attorney.  I felt like I was sinning by dating, even though the marriage was physically over.  I decided to wait.  I pouted and cursed my conscience.  My ex was even in a relationship but he had also walked away from Christianity.  It’s not that I wanted a lover because he had one.  I was complaining to God because I was angry that I seemed to always be expected to do the right thing while everyone else was free to do as they pleased.  I was stuck in limbo being single and married at the same time.  At least, that is the way I saw it.

God kept showing me Proverbs 23:17, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.”

and James 3:14, “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.”

I was at a point where I was just starting to explore who I was as a woman and an individual.  Not as a wife or a mother, but as myself.  It was hard because I had lost myself in all the years of caring for other people.  I forgot about all my own interests, hobbies, needs and talents.  I was so surprised at the amount of things I didn’t know about myself anymore.  At the same time it was interesting to introduce the old me to the new me.  I was still going to counseling and to church.  I wanted to be the best me I could be.  Being in pain had brought out some of the ugliest parts of me and I took it all to God.  We began working on me.  In my heart I carried the promise I made to myself, that I would let God choose a husband for me and help me to not screw everything up.  I asked Him to take my heart for safe keeping and to only give it to a man who deserved to have it.  I said this prayer on what was probably the darkest day of my separation period.

Ladies, and I cannot stress this enough, ask everybody you trust for help in your divorce journey.  Notice I said TRUST.  At a time like this in your life everyone will have an opinion and give unsolicited advice very freely and without any kind of tact.  I think most people mean well but you have to be careful because some of these people are trying to correct their own past regrets through you.  One lady might tell you to stay in the marriage because she divorced years ago and secretly regrets it.  Another woman will tell you to run like the wind because she stayed in a bad marriage for too long and regrets all the years she wasted.  This kind of advice really has nothing to do with your situation and isn’t even given with your personal situation in mind.  Keep your eyes open and pray about EVERYTHING.

It’s Time

A girlfriend of mine kept in touch with me on a regular basis.  She always checked on me to see how I was holding up and to listen if I needed to talk.  One day she told me it was time for me to ‘get back out there’.  She told me she was doing online dating and told me to try a particular site that was free.

“Oh hell no!  I can’t do that!”

“Why not?  It’s better than meeting random guys on the street.  This way you can filter and screen people and decide who you want to talk to.  It’s very controlled.”

My mind was all over the place.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to ever be married again.  Most of the time I didn’t.  But a lot of times I did.  Every time I felt a longing for a mate I would punish myself with flashbacks from my first marriage.  I would chastise my heart for being weak and for considering making room for love.  Then the question of whether I was single or not kept popping into my brain.  Being betrayed does things to you.  One of the things is it makes you doubt your own judgement.  I finally decided that I think too much.  I asked God to forgive me if I was doing the wrong thing in my confusion.

I thought about it for a few weeks and then finally ended up downloading the app on my phone. I answered a gazillion questions about myself and filled out a profile.  I hesitated to upload a selfie.  I spent some time browsing through profiles and ended up having some good laughs.  A lot of the guys were such predators that it was in every aspect of their profile.  One man uploaded his wedding photo and blurred out the bride’s face.  I guess he really liked how he looked in that picture.  Other men had pictures of themselves at clubs with drinks in hand, some flanked by other girls.  I remember thinking that this was a bad idea.  I made a plan to stick to my requirements for a man and then uploaded a picture.  I went to sleep that night feeling anxious.

I woke up in the middle of the night and picked up the phone to check the time.  There was an alert from the dating app.  It said I had 19 messages.  As I sifted through my inbox I deleted all the messages that included comments about my body.  Then I checked the profiles of the remaining men who messaged me and deleted all the ones who were not Christian.  I replied to the 2 or 3 that were left after all that and had small talk.  Very boring.  One of the guys I had deleted was super active and liked to ski, run, etc. and said that he required a woman who was the same.  I’m not that girl.  I pointed that out to him after he sent me a second message.  He said he was willing to overlook that for me.  Gee, thanks. *Delete*

Then I got a message that someone had looked at my profile.  I looked at his profile and went straight to the section where he stated his religion- Christian.  I looked at his pictures and was immediately drawn to his eyes.  He was a handsome man but that wasn’t it.  There was a kindness in his eyes.  I stared at his picture for a long time and then continued on to read his profile. He was 43 and divorced with two grown children who lived in his house in Washington state.  His company had recently relocated him to California.  He had not sent me a message and I thought it was because we were complete opposites in some ways.  He was a country boy and I was a city girl.  He was laid back and I was tightly wound.  He was white, and I was black.  ‘Never’, I thought.  He would never date somebody like me.  I would date someone like him in a heartbeat.  As a matter of fact, I had written about him in my journal.  Not him, but a man like him.  I was writing about my ideal husband.  I made a list of traits and qualities: Christian, a little older than myself, country, laid back, patient, transparent, honest, dependable, handsome.  And here he was right before my eyes, or so it seemed.

He looked at my profile, again.  I got another notification that he checked me out.  Why wasn’t me messaging me?  Was he shy?  Did he just like to look at my picture?  I looked over his profile one more time very carefully and then decided to send him a message.  He replied!  And then the hard part.  It was do or die.  I told him I had 5 kids and waited nervously for his reply.  I wanted to put that out there right up front to test his intentions.  I was proud of my beautiful babies and if he couldn’t stomach the thought, *Poof* Be gone!  Yet, his reply was simple.

“Wow. Big family :)”.  

That’s it?  No alarm bells or anything?  While I was trying to be honest I hadn’t told him the whole truth.  My profile said I was divorced but I was married.  I could have chosen to ‘separated’ but I didn’t want anybody think I was still undecided about my marriage.  I didn’t want to choose ‘single’ either because I didn’t want to mislead them into thinking I had never been married before.  I made what I thought was the best choice.  I told him that my divorce wasn’t final but I assured him that I had indeed filed.  He was understanding but he was firm when he said that it was important to him that my divorce be finalized.

We talked about our faith.  We had many questions for each other in the messages back and forth.  It wasn’t at all like an interrogation.  It was pleasant, revealing, and even funny at times.  I don’t know why but I felt comfortable revealing myself to him.  I had no worries about him running game on me or trying to satisfy some twisted fetish involving black women.  He didn’t ask me about my favorite color or what kind of music I liked.  He wanted to know about my relationship with God.  He wanted to know why my marriage ended At the end of our messaging dance he gave me his phone number with no pressure to call.  He didn’t ask for mine and I didn’t give it to him.  I needed to sleep on it.

I called him a few days later.  He sounded pleasantly surprised.  We talked for hours.  I learned that he had two grandchildren.  I thought about how I would be an instant Grandma if I married him.  We talked and texted all day for a few days.  I had a new friend and it felt good.  Still, in the back of my vulnerable mind I had my fears and my doubts.  Why would such a good man want a woman like me?  A woman with 5 kids and heavy baggage.  He said that he divorced his wife because she cheated on him with a man who he thought was his friend.  How did I know he wasn’t lying?  Of course, I prayed on it.  I was not going to make the same mistake again.  I had asked God to protect my heart and I did NOT want to get in His way.  My new friend asked me to meet in person for a breakfast date.  I agreed right away and picked the time and place.  Saturday, September 7, 2013 at Jim’s Burgers, 9:00 a.m. sharp.

Leigh Anne Tuohy Update: One Of The Teens Responds

The Belle Jar

One of the two teens involved in Leigh Anne Tuohy’s recent social media stunt has spoken out on Instagram (his name has been blurred out for privacy):

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Person One aka Teen Leigh Anne Tuohy approached at KFC:

Yeah people don’t know what really happened because I actually had money I have a job and have had one for over a year I was gonna pay for my brother the other guy in the picture but he was insisting on waiting on his uncle but his phone was dying so we were charging it which is the reason we were in KFC in the first place.and the game was only a 3 min walk up the street I don’t see why she said bus fare that kinda ticked me off a little but the way she worded it is making us sound less fortunate and that isn’t the case at…

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Leigh Anne Tuohy, Racism, and the White Saviour Complex

Definitely worth reading and sharing.

The Belle Jar

Leigh Anne “That Nice Woman Sandra Bullock Played In The Blind Side” Tuohy recently posted the following picture and caption on her Facebook and Instagram accounts:

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We see what we want! It’s the gospel truth! These two were literally huddled over in a corner table nose to nose and the person with me said “I bet they are up to no good” well you know me… I walked over, told them to scoot over. After 10 seconds of dead silence I said so whats happening at this table? I get nothing.. I then explained it was my store and they should spill it… They showed me their phones and they were texting friends trying to scrape up $3.00 each for the high school basketball game! Well they left with smiles, money for popcorn and bus fare. We have to STOP judging people and assuming and pigeon holing people!…

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The Preview

I have not written anything for a long time. Not even in my journal. My life has changed dramatically. All for the good. I am super busy nowadays.

A little over a year ago I met a wonderful man of God. We have been married for 3 months now.  We had a small ceremony at our church with my immediate family and some friends present.  His family lives in Washington state and they weren’t present. They opted to wait for our bigger ceremony in April of next year.

My kids love him. My mom says he is a good man. He even passed my uncle’s inspection.  I passed his mother’s grilling and now she loves me. His family is great. Most importantly, God gave us his blessing. My friend says he is my Boaz.  She’s absolutely right.

It wasn’t easy trusting another man at first, in light of the infidelity in my first marriage.  Ironically, he and I have that pain in common. His ex-wife left him for another man and had been unfaithful for most of their marriage. Having this in common helps us to be gentle and patient with each other.  We are bonding quite nicely.

I will be writing more about my Boaz and what it feels like to have God flip the script on you just out of the blue.

(Spoiler alert: it feels awesome!!)

A quick note…

I just wanted to slide in here for a sec and share something. There have been times in my life when I prayed and waited to hear from God on specific issues.  Just when I thought I had His answer I realized that I didn’t recognize the sound of my Father’s voice because I went a long time without talking to him much.  That’s my fault.  I would waver back and forth like a palm tree in a hurricane because I just couldn’t understand what God was trying to show me.

If you’re waiting to hear from God on something, don’t give up!  Pray and ask Him to speak to you so that you can understand.  He created your mind and He knows very well how to reach you if he needs to.  Personally, I knew it was God speaking when I had a feeling He had answered me but I was unsure.  So I prayed for confirmation and that is exactly what I got.  And in several different ways from several different sources.  God knows I have trust issues so he sent the memo like 20 times because He knew it would take that much to get through to me.

I am at peace.  I know it sounds silly, given my particular burden but God has given me a peace about my decision and I know that it is His will.  I am actually relieved to not have to struggle, guess, wonder, and do work that wasn’t bearing any fruit anymore.  It was a long journey and I am taking a much needed break.  They say you go through the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) when you go through a divorce or broken marriage.  That is very true.  I am at acceptance.  It took awhile for me to get to this point but letting go was the best thing to do.  It is far from easy to let go of a friendship of almost 20 years.  That is more than half my life.  But I keep it together and take things as they come.  I have no worries.

I am still standing and I will continue as long as Christ says so.

God Bless 🙂

Booty shorts and unrealistic expectations.

I guarantee I’m about to piss some people off.  Truth hurts.

Ladies, you cannot expect to attract a “good man” by wearing booty shorts and bra tops.  What is this with the whole crying and whining trend from women who don’t understand why they can’t dress the way they want to and still get respect?  Are we really that entitled in this country?  If you’re big enough to wear the clothes then you’re big enough to assume all the risks that come with it.  I’ve had my share of questionable fashion choices but I knew exactly what I was in for before I stepped outside my house.  I was ready for it.  And when I got tired of being misunderstood and misrepresented, I changed my clothes.  I know full well that not all women who dress provocatively are sluts, but I can also admit that the clothes make it appear that way.   Nobody is mistaking Kelly Bundy for a missionary.

Uniforms come with an understanding of certain risks and liabilities.  By wearing the uniform you agree that you are willing to take those risks.  Cops risk being shot, firemen risk being burned, doctors risk catching germs- hell, even gangsters know what’s up when you wear one color but not another.  For some reason we women think none of those rules apply to us.  If you are going to wear the uniform, stop bellyaching or change clothes.

So why is it that we tend to think we can be so free as to walk the aisles of Target showing more flesh than a little bit, but still expect to attract a nice guy who wants to get to know us and be really into our hearts and our personalities and not expect sex in exchange for dinner and a movie?  What if your son brought home a girl who dressed just like you?  Would you be happy?  Would you be scared for him?  Would you be angry?  Talking about how you want a man to notice your personality while you got the volume way up on your assets.  Please!  You can’t be serious!

And before anyone jumps on here with comments about how clothing is no excuse for rape, I agree 1,000%.  But this is not about sexual assault as it relates to dress.  It’s about relationships and expectations as they relate to dress. 

If no one else will tell you, I’m telling you.  A man who respects himself and respects women can tell right away if you have no respect for yourself, and he is not attracted to that.  He will definitely look, but to approach- unlikely.  Date- highly unlikely.  Marry- forget it!  He is not trying to take you home to his momma!

The way you dress is a reflection of your self-worth.  If you do not value and treasure your beautiful flesh the way God does, you will put it on display like the clearance rack at Forever 21.  There it is right by the front door for everyone to see as they come in.  But if you really do treasure and hold dear the body that you were given, you cover it and protect it from being trampled by bargain shoppers looking for a deal.  You are worth so much more than what society is telling you.  You are not a walking, talking exercise machine for men with evil desires.  I know it’s hard not to show your body.  I struggle with wanting to wear certain things because I’m still petite after having 5 kids and I get caught up in wanting to feel sexy and attractive.  But when I consider the kind of attention I will receive by wearing a certain outfit, I decide it’s not worth the headache.

You are not missing out on your man by dressing with class and dignity.  You can be incredibly sexy with clothes on.  He will know how to find you.  A good man knows a good woman when he sees one.  Never compromise your values.  Never.

If you’re a proud wearer of booty shorts, keep doing what you do.  All I ask is that you stop crying about the blowback.  You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.

Insincere vs. Unrepentant

Here’s a question. I’d love to have your honest answers and not quoted scripture. I’m asking for your personal thoughts and feelings.

Whom would you find it EASIEST to forgive: Someone who repeats the same offense against you hundreds of times and gives a teary apology every time OR one who has committed a single horrible offense against you and is not sorry and maybe even bragging about it?